Government & Politics

Brownback advocates consumption tax as income tax alternative in Kansas

Gov. Sam Brownback signed bipartisan legislation Thursday adding Kansas to the short list of states allowing unlicensed possession of concealed firearms and eliminating a weapons training mandate for people to carry hidden guns. He held a press conference later in the day that touched heavily on taxes and the state’s budget problems.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed bipartisan legislation Thursday adding Kansas to the short list of states allowing unlicensed possession of concealed firearms and eliminating a weapons training mandate for people to carry hidden guns. He held a press conference later in the day that touched heavily on taxes and the state’s budget problems. AP

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Thursday afternoon that he advocates moving to a consumption tax to fund state government.

In a rare news conference, Brownback extolled the value of income tax cuts that he signed into law in 2012 and 2013.

While the governor remains committed to the income tax cuts even in the face of a massive budget deficit, he preferred moving to higher consumption taxes.

“I still want to get away from the income tax,” Brownback told reporters. “Over time, I would like to see us move toward the consumption basket of taxes.”

Brownback said such taxes are more “growth” oriented. He wouldn’t specify what type of consumption taxes he would back, but pointed out that he is pushing higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol this session.

The governor said he would be open to a higher sales tax. He said he hoped lawmakers would look at various tax options during their upcoming month-long break before they return to finish their budget deliberations.

Lawmakers likely will need some new revenue to help balance the budget before adjourning this year’s session.

In other news, Brownback defended sharing key budget information before the start of the legislative session with his former chief of staff, David Kensinger, who now works as a lobbyist at the Capitol.

Kensinger’s clients include Reynolds American tobacco company, which could be affected by Brownback’s proposed tax increase on cigarettes.

“What I try to do is get as much input from people as possible,” Brownback said. “I’ve tried to operate most of my public career in trying to solicit lots of input.

“I wish he wasn’t lobbying for that group,” Brownback said. “He’s free to do what he’s doing.”

To reach Brad Cooper, call 816-234-7724 or send email to bcooper@kcstar.com.

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